St. Louis Fast Food Workers Walk Off the Job (Again)

Categories: Restaurant News

mcdonaldsstrike.jpg
       RFT Photo

St. Louis fast-food workers are walking off the job Monday, July 29, in a 24-hour strike to protest low wages. Headed by STL735 ("Can't survive on $7.35"), around 100 workers from McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, White Castle, Jimmy John's, Papa Johns, Arby's and more are expected to strike this afternoon. Fast food workers are protesting at McDonald's on South Grand (3737 South Grand Boulevard; 314-772-3890) and on West Florissant (10873 West Florissant Avenue; 314-521-2272).

See also:
-St. Louis Fast-Food Workers Protest for Better Pay, Right to Organize
-Minimum Wage: U.S. Secretary Of Labor Seth Harris Is Meeting With St. Louis Workers
-Photos/Video: Fast-Food Workers March Through Delmar Loop for Better Pay

Congressman Lacy Clay, whose district represents much of St. Louis city and county, is also supporting the strike lines. Workers are also striking in Kansas City, Chicago, Milawaukee, Detroit and New York. STL735 community director Martin Rafanan says legislation has been introduced to raise the minimum wage, but that isn't enough. "It doesn't meet the needs of workers, but it's a step in the right direction. We're also fighting for Medicaid expansion and a number of other things that will help low-wage workers dramatically," he says. "They need a wage that covers the basic necessities of life, and by the way, minimum wage doesn't do that."

Workers are also fighting for the right to unionize without fear of retaliation. Rafanan says this is just the beginning of fast-food workers organizing themselves and making sure they have a clear and focused approach to their demands.

Protest locations for tomorrow will be announced later this afternoon -- check back for updates on this developing story.

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at nancy.stiles@riverfronttimes.com or follow her on Twitter.





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101 comments
Terri Belangee
Terri Belangee

If they get what they want then they will get less hours & force fast food joints to hire more people.

JJ O'Brand
JJ O'Brand

Slurping the Koch, this deeb, just can't keep it off of his lips...

Amanda Michel
Amanda Michel

It's not the greed that bothers me as much as the shortsightedness. Everything happening right now doesn't have to be the way everything always is. Unions actually did have power in this country at one point and are responsible for labor standards that we enjoy. Prior to that, people worked 80 hours a week, kids worked, etc. change that improved lives happened at some point so why not now? If Brian and company were alive early in the 20th century, would they say, "of course children have to work. Otherwise, prices will go up?"

JJ O'Brand
JJ O'Brand

Dear pot, meet kettle. Your argument is a solid one though pffffft.....

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Most conservative people are liars and cheats. Typically greedy and self absorbed- arrogant. I can see that.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Michael Dell (Dell computers) washed dishes at a Chinese food restaurant for 12 years. Warren Buffet delivered papers. Any moron could do those worthless jobs. Think before you speak (or type) your lack of history and pop culture risings to stardom from meaningless jobs is as shocking as your wit. Want to know how many previous presidents worked in food service or were farm hands? Farm hands- bet you have a problem with that too. Because those jobs are for illegals right? Easy work. I think not. What other careers are worth $7.35 in your opinion or that are mindless?

Amanda Michel
Amanda Michel

I think Brian gets it, too. He's just trying to get the better of his liberal friends. One of these days, he'll come clean.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Amanda- thank you! Exactly. Seems the ladies here get it.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Brian- do you know what negotiation is? It's simple. Like biding a contract on a home. As a seller you may go high. As a buyer you low ball. Meet in the middle. That is what strikes and negotiations are about. I suppose you don't have the skill set of business negotiations. You're not very marketable in that area in the least....

Amanda Michel
Amanda Michel

Besides, when you create a goal, you have to overshoot. That way, you can compromise down to something more realistic.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

So you still think not one of the people who work fast food has any skill set? Ever think a award winning composer would work there? Well he does. Because of a illness he can no longer play his instrument or sing the works he created. But he loves hamburgers and people. So watch your words and have some respect. It's not what they are worth- it's what we are just used to- people like you shaming people's jobs. It's so sad you don't see that! Not everyone is unskilled. Ask the man at the McDonald's I go to- he's retired. He loves people and likes to work- how dare he be treated like a scum bag and looked down at. Walk a mile in someone's shoes before you judge their worth!

Amanda Michel
Amanda Michel

I remember hanging out in chesterfield a lot as a teen and those fast food places out there already paid way more than minimum wage, because even teens did not want to work there and they had to pay extra to get people to bus in. If those places are run by teens, that's the end of them. Those places need reliable people who need the job and they'll lose that if they can't pay living wages. I was a fairly responsible teen but I never worked with a deep fat fryer for longer than a week or two.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

The skill of remaining at a fast food restaurant for more than a few months takes tremendous strength and perseverance. It takes patience, multi tasking, always friendly, working under pressure, dealing with a wide range of people, hot and smelly conditions, hanging in there while people look down on you with shame- so honestly the meaningless tasks they are worth- is one of the most difficult problems in this country- discrimination. How dare you look down on anyone who is trying to earn a honest days pay. Supersize that Brian. Next time you drive thru or swing by Panera, White Castle or Quik Trip- ask those meaningless workers how those companies pay. It's most definitely different than you may think. And what is wrong with a career working with people providing fast food for the hungry masses? It's a integral part of this society. The food workers deserve a little more respect than that. Perhaps $15 is a lot to ask..... but the minimum wage most certainly needs raising from what it currently is.

Brian McDowell
Brian McDowell

If McDonald's fired all these strikers tomorrow, there would be a new crop of teenagers willing to work these jobs at what they currently pay. These employees have no special skills, they bring nothing to the table, so they have no leverage. And what they're asking for is totally ridiculous and isn't going to happen, which doesn't exactly help their cause.

Amanda Michel
Amanda Michel

That's noble, kelle, but you're not speaking the language of corporations or corporate sympathizers. All they care about is money, which is why the fast food people need to have serious strikes like the Appalachian coal miners, who had almost nothing to lose. They can't take fast food jobs overseas so the workers actually have some power here if they would use it.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

The incentive is fairness. There needs to be NO INCENTIVE that's the point! Why does it have to be financial to multi millionaires? Because of kindness, generosity and a company that preaches its belief in every employee as worth something. THAT is the intention a fair wage should represent. As a nation- it needs to be raised. Because it's time. Way overdue.

Amanda Michel
Amanda Michel

That's why they're walking out- so the employers have the incentive to pay them more. I don't know that a strike will work for them but it's worth a shot. There are many jobs that require few skills but pay more to people willing to do them- mortician's assistants, roofers, farm laborers, mailman, whatever. They pay more than minimum wage because those jobs suck. Any job where you have to use a deep fat fryer also sucks.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Not the company Brian- the national minimum wage needs to be raised. Again- what is your salary or pay based on? Who decides what you are worth? What jobs are so beneath you to consider as mindless and comatose? Paid what they are worth you say? So- any person who works in a food service industry is only worth $7.35 per hour because they are "worth" only that. Wow. Marketable with no education..... you know who worked as a dishwasher and a burger flipper aka worked in fast food-----Chris Rock, Anthony Bourdain , Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Queen Latifa, Jason Long, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, Sharron Stone, Macy Grey, Jay Leno, Seal, Russell Simmons, Pink, Star Jones, Brad Pitt- just to name a few un-marketable people. Wow. But you know what? It's "those people" who worked and gained a ton of experience in an area that teaches integrity. Working at McDonalds is more than a worthless job for worthless people as you've so elegantly put it..... it's a enormous international corporation. The minimum wages paid to its workers here in America is what the law requires. Ask the people I named above if they think you are overpaid and only worth a specific poverty line wage. Pompous and arrogant statement Brian.

Brian McDowell
Brian McDowell

I just understand that someone who is flipping burgers, a job which requires no marketable skills, no education, and can be done by most anyone who is not comatose, is currently paid about what they are worth to their company. What economic incentive would a company possibly have to pay them more?

Amanda Michel
Amanda Michel

You're just jealous you're not a cool, revolutionary type, Brian. I don't think it would take a miracle.. We have maybe one or two fast food places here.

Amanda Michel
Amanda Michel

Eric farlow, you are awesome and right in my neighborhood. If you have plans to revolutionize brentwood, I will help out.

Eric Farlow
Eric Farlow

I'd much rather help facilitate progressive movement in my home country and piss off people that would say stuff like "I'll give you a fucking ride to the border." You work at Chosen Son Photography huh? Couldn't script you any better in an Ayn Rand novel.

Richard Kyles
Richard Kyles

if you don't like America so much let me know I'll give you a fucking ride to the border.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Yep- high school (maybe GED) who is a bitter bible thumping paranoid who thinks the government or people of color are out to get you. I guess you will have to wait for the next Glen Beck or Limbaugh show for your next talking point. Didn't Glen write a book called 'Talking points' for people like you? Ways to sidetrack the intellectual elite liberals? Well- I read part of it and its a shame that most people with any common sense in this country don't come with a script. Just sayin.....

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Nope not catholic school boy- parents couldn't afford it. Or your grades were too low to enter.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

So Brian- what determines your salary?

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Brian McDowell- I'm sure the irish catholic school boy who went to school for communications or marketing... if I'm wrong i apologize. Its just rather obvious from your attitude that you were forced into such thinking by ways of indoctrination by over protective parents and priests. So to your question- Who decides what CEO's are paid. Well that is not a simple question but ill give it my best shot. It would first need to be determined if its incorporated or LLC or DBA. So that being said- pay scales for CEO can also be determined by a board of directors. It can also (if company policy) be based on income earned and stock market or stock options. CEO salary can also be a bonus only on corporate profit only. In which case I would refer to Bank of America, Citi, Chase bank etc. another determining factor can be turn around on P & L as a broker or venture capital- refer to Mitt Romney. It can also be part of CEO salary for use of a second home, use of jet and many other perks that one may figure into salary. If you are the CEO of your own self start company- such as Costco or The Gates Foundation. In that case a meager salary and fair wages passed to workers. How much money does one need? Narrowing down how a CEO is paid would have to be done by each company or corporation. Including bonus programs and yearly salary increases. So Brian---- the answer is not a definitive one- but it sure as heck isn't $7.35 an hour and I don't see any CEO's who are trying to cash a payday loan to make sure the power isn't turned off so that the alarm doesn't go off while a fatherless child has a mother working 3 jobs to support her family. Know who that woman is? Many many of the part time workers of fast food. You don't know their story- how they arrived to work there, what life may have dealt them! You are by definition a antagonist. Don't play with my knowledge of pay scale. I've had nothing and I've had it all. What matters is the ethics of a company and it's fair business practices in my opinion. It's just too bad I even wasted any time replying to such a stupid question while you refuse to answer any yourself. I have a better chance of growing a set of balls than you do. But good luck anyway!!

Brian McDowell
Brian McDowell

I don't type with my mouth, JJ. If you do, that explains how you can arrive at such a ridiculous position. Who do you think decides how much CEOs get paid?

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Oh yes Steve let us all fall to our knees and kiss their feet because without them the world would just stop spinning....Yea right. hahahaha Wake up buddy they need us more than we need them.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

"People can't work 40 hours and only have enough to pay for gas and insurance." exactly. and that's why you don't rely on a lifetime of flipping burgers.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

what's a "fair" wage for someone that works at burger king? what is the exact dollar amount they should make? what's a "liveable" wage?

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

i'm not the one calling people "greedy bastards". you do realize those "greedy bastards" keep facebook operating so you can be an internet tough guy, right?

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

cool. it will give me more time to be on facebook.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

and yes...i have worked for minimum wage many different times in my life and at no time did i think i should have made any more than what the free market says i should be paid for that work.

Brian McDowell
Brian McDowell

Kelle; who do you think it is that decides how much CEOs get paid? (Hint: It isn't the CEOs.) And if fast food employees don't like what McDonalds pays, they are perfectly free to work elsewhere. And, in fact, moving on to a higher paying job is exactly what the vast majority of those that work in fast food joints end up doing.

Brian McDowell
Brian McDowell

Thank you for acknowledging my superiority. However, you still are incapable of answering my questions.

Brian McDowell
Brian McDowell

Someone living in the 2100 would likely have as much trouble figuring out why we should pay teenagers with no job skills or special education more than they are worth to the company as sensible people these days would. This is particularly the case when people defending such a ridiculous economic position can't even specify how much these teenagers should be paid.

Elizabeth Jaggie
Elizabeth Jaggie

I am all for people being able to have enough money to pay their bills but when I started work at 16 at a fast food place, I made $2.60 and hour. It was a "Stepping Stone" job, not a career. They will never raise minimum wage to $15 an hour... The problem lies in the fact that our Govt. has allowed so many companies to close down our Mfg. plants and move them over-seas with no consequences. In the late 70's when I started working, there were factory jobs available for anyone that was willing to get their hands dirty and at each one you could acquire skills that could take with you to a new, better paying job - Union Labor with Benefits for you and your family. Until the Govt. starts making it less attractive for these Corps. to send our jobs overseas by hitting them in the pocketbook when they bring their foreign made goods back here for us to buy; nothing will change, it will only get worse. The only thing that any of US can do about it is to buy ONLY American Made products whenever possible. It's not easy to find them but if we as a people made a commitment to trying to buy MADE IN THE USA products whenever possible, the impact WOULD be felt....

Eric Farlow
Eric Farlow

It's a bit easier to see why your position is that of a sociopathic corporate apologist if you could see it from the eyes of someone living in the year 2100.

Eric Farlow
Eric Farlow

"So, the people that want the slaveowners in the farms they've owned to make more money are 'greedy', yet those slaves with no specific skill-set or education, who apparently aim for the farmers that employ slave labor to make less money while they are set free (which costs around $20,000) apparently aren't 'greedy' at all in this case. Gotcha'." -Brian McDowell's position on living wages in the early 1800's.

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